Early Years Lead Practitioner (Level 5)

“A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.”
Robert A. Heinlein

This apprenticeship standard is for proactive and influential practitioners, who work directly with children, skilfully leading day to day practice at an operational level. They may work in a variety of settings which can include day nurseries, playgroups, pre-schools, and primary schools. They will interact with children aged from birth to eight years, families, other practitioners, professionals, and appropriate agencies. They are effective role models of play-based learning, supporting others to develop their own practice. They take an operational lead for the care, learning and development of all young children within their care. They provide an adaptive and inclusive provision for all. They are typically responsible for leading other practitioners, an aspect, or an environment. 

Key Facts

Eligibility: You should either have already completed a level 3 in this subject or be working in a role that provides the opportunity to practice the skills covered in this qualification. 

Qualifications: You will gain a Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner apprenticeship standard.

Pre-requisites:  GCSE grade 4 and above or Functional Skills equivalents in maths and English.

Duration: 24 months and five months in Gateway

Training: A programme of structured on and off-the-job training. This can include webinars, workshops and practice sessions on skills and professional behaviour, self-directed learning, and distance learning.

Support You will have a tpm personal trainer who will support you by phone and email. They visit you in the workplace every eight weeks for training and to review progress, plan next steps and identify any specific support you need. 

Course content

This apprenticeship standard will give you a full portfolio of professional skills, behaviours and knowledge required to be an effective Early Years Lead Practitioner. The apprenticeship standard gives you a full range of knowledge, skills, and behaviours to complete your duties to:

Promote health and well-being of all children; provide playful, sensitive interactive opportunities that reflect children’s needs; participate in and lead daily routines and practice; be an effective key person and advocate; take the lead and provide support in disseminating best practice; promote, demonstrate and facilitate a clear understanding of diversity and equality; ensure full compliance with all safeguarding legislation and policies; demonstrate leaderful practice through effective deployment of resources and personnel; reflect and build on practice through professional enquiry and action research; be accountable for day to day practice, long term planning, management, and training; establish engaging, inclusive and collaborative relationships; become a reflective practitioner, enhancing skills and knowledge to improve pedagogical practice; initiate continuing professional development opportunities; identify strength and weaknesses; provide constructive feedback; contribute to formal performance management; ensure compliance with all Health and Safety legislation; maintain effective administrative systems including records, assessments and reports; work in collaborative partnership with parents and carers; and lead and manage across the area, aspect or environment. 

Apprenticeship journey

Step 1 Initial & Diagnostic Assessment
Skills scans are completed with your trainer, to accredit your prior learning and achievements. This is so you don’t undertake training for skills you already have. Your trainer will ask you about any learning difference you have e.g. dyslexia, so they can put additional training support in place.

Step 2 Training

The main phase of your apprenticeship is when you undertake your programme of on and off-the-job training.  A learning plan will be developed specifically for you, using your job role as the guide for your training. A minimum of 20% of your contracted working hours must be spent on off-the-job training. Through a variety of learning activities, you will develop your knowledge, skills, and professional behaviour, including attending skills sessions, webinars, workshops, tpm online, and distance learning. You will also undertake regular knowledge checks to test your competence.

Step 3 Gateway

This is a point towards the end of your apprenticeship when you engage in discussions and decision-making sessions with your trainer and your employer to assess whether you are ready for your end point assessment or whether you need additional training. You must be deemed competent in all skills, knowledge, and behaviours. 

Step 4 End Point Assessment
This is the last stage of your apprenticeship, where the skills, knowledge, and professional behaviours you have acquired will be assessed by the Independent End Point Assessor (IEPA). This consists of three parts; observation of practice; a professional discussion underpinned by a portfolio of evidence; and a case study with report, presentation, and questions. 


You can progress to undertake specialist training or professional training to become an Early Years Teacher (0-5), a Teacher with QTS, Social Worker, or health professional. 

To apply

Speak to your employer to ensure you have their support to undertake this apprenticeship standard as they play an important role in the training process. The team at tpm are always available to provide advice to you and your employer. Call 0151 709 6000 for more details on how to apply. 


Duty 1 Promote the health and well-being of all children, self-regulation and resilience through learning rich environments, opportunities for challenging play and a healthy attitude towards risk taking.

Duty 2 Provide playful, sensitive interaction opportunities that reflect children’s needs, interests and motivations in order to facilitate and extend deep level learning.

Duty 3 Participate in and lead daily routines and practice, including childrens’ personal care, play and maintaining the physical environment

Duty 4 To be an effective key person and advocate for the child, supporting the child’s developmental, emotional and daily needs within a secure and caring relationship. To ensure the effectiveness of the key person approach across the aspect or environment for which they are responsible.

Duty 5 To take the lead and provide support in disseminating best practice in the use of observation, assessments and planning to meet children’s needs and extend their holistic development within the aspect or environment for which they are responsible.

Duty 6 Promote, demonstrate and facilitate a clear understanding of diversity and equality to support all children, including those with additional needs, those of high ability, those with English as an additional language and those with disabilities. To be able to use and evaluate distinctive approaches which engage and support inclusivity of all children within their social and cultural context.

Duty 7 Ensure full compliance with all safeguarding legislation, policies and strategies at a national, local and setting based level are promoted, implemented and embedded respectfully within practice, providing appropriate support to colleagues as, or supporting, the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Duty 8 Demonstrate leaderful practice through the effective deployment of resources and practitioners keeping the child’s voice and needs central to practice.

Duty 9 Reflect and build on practice through ongoing professional enquiry and action research to contribute to the pedagogical approach of their setting. To be accountable for day-to-day practice

Duty 10 Establish engaging, inclusive and collaborative relationships and participate in multiagency meetings. Enable and facilitate practitioners to develop professional relationships with parents, carers and multi-agencies to meet the individual needs of the children

Duty 11 Commit to becoming a reflective practitioner, enhancing skills and knowledge to improve pedagogical practice. Guide and support the development of the reflective practice of others.

Duty 12 Initiate continuing professional development opportunities in response to identification of strengths and weaknesses both personally and within your team. Provide constructive feedback on points of practice on an informal day to day basis and contribute to formal performance management as necessary.

Duty 13 Ensure compliance with all Health and Safety legislation, policies and strategies at a national, local and setting based level.

Duty 14 Maintain effective administrative systems including development records, assessment, report writing and record keeping, such as risk assessments and safeguarding concerns.

Duty 15 Work in collaborative partnership with parents and carers in the planning, implementation and review of strategies in place to support children’s experience, holistic development, learning and progress.

Duty 16 To lead and manage across the area, aspect or environment for which they are responsible for.